More Heartache for Williamtown Residents as Sand Mine Back on the Agenda

The Department of Planning has been labelled as ‘cruel’ and ‘indifferent to the suffering of Williamtown residents’ with news that the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) will consider an application for a sand mine next to residential properties.

Residents along this section of Cabbage Tree Road are already impacted by the Williamtown RAAF PFAS contamination, as well as by recent bush fires.

Local residents are concerned that the stress of fighting a sand mine next door to their property will push them to breaking point.

The controversial Cabbage Tree Road sandmine was heavily featured in an exposé by the ABC’s Background Briefing into decisions by Port Stephens Council under the leadership of former Mayor Bruce Mackenzie.

Port Stephens Council owns the land on which the mine will be based and tendered out the use of the land for a sand mine. Mayor Mackenzie’s voting block used their numbers to overrule Council staff’s preferred tenderer and instead selected a company with ties to disgraced businessman Nathan Tinkler.

That company, Castle Quarry Products, has since transferred the rights to mine the site to different company, Williamtown Sand Syndicate, without the tender being re-issued. Williamtown Sand Syndicate was formed only weeks before being granted to rights to mine the site.

It has since been learnt that long time Nathan Tinkler business partner Darren Williams has also been involved with the new company Williamtown Sand Syndicate.

Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP

“The legacy of this sandmine is so smelly it should be withdrawn entirely. Council should rip up its agreement which still has Bruce Mackenzie and Nathan Tinkler’s stink all over it.”

“The Department of Planning has given no though to how this process will impact the Williamtown residents who would be forced to live next door to this sand mine. Those residents are already living with the stress of the RAAF base contamination. They’ve only recently battled a bushfire on their back fences.”

“There’s only so much stress families can take, and I fear that this news will push residents to breaking point.”

“The very least that the Department of Planning should do is postpone this assessment until after the RAAF Base contamination issue has been resolved. This is yet another heartless decision by a government which is incapable of understanding the impacts its decisions have on people’s lives."

This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 9 February, 2018.

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